Hosted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and supported by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP) sponsored its fourteenth international workshop on 8-12 April 2018 in Heidelberg, Germany, on inspection practices amongst its member countries.
The workshop was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), supported by the German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) and the German Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg (UM BW).
The conduct of inspections provides an essential and valuable source of information for a regulatory body's integrated assessment and comprehensive oversight safety process. Inspection gives a regulatory body the ability to verify that licensees, during all the phases of the performance of their activities, operate the facility safely, that their activities fully comply with all applicable regulations and that safety is given the highest priority. Inspection also provides a basis for regulatory enforcement.
In this framework, the main purpose of the workshop was to provide a forum for the exchange of information on regulatory inspection activities. Participants had the opportunity to meet with their counterparts from other countries and organisations to discuss current and future issues on selected topics.
They developed conclusions and commendable practices regarding these issues and identified methods to help improve their own inspection practices.
Considering the importance of inspections for regulatory bodies, the CNRA established a special working group to address inspection practices and to facilitate the exchange of information and experience related to regulatory safety inspections between its member countries.
This workshop, along with many other activities performed by WGIP, was directed towards this goal. The consensus from participants in previous workshops noted that the value of meeting with people from other inspection organisations was one of the most important achievements of this activity.
The workshop addressed the following three topics concerning experience from inspection activities:
A brief overview of the concepts and issues for each of the topics is provided in the following paragraphs.
Actual issues to be discussed during the workshop were generated by the organising committee members based on the responses submitted by participants with their registration forms. This helped ensure that issues considered most important by the workshop participants were covered during the group discussions.
Human and organisational factors (HOF) or aspects play a prominent role in nuclear safety at every stage of operation. As they have a lot of interactions with the licensee, inspectors can have deep insight about licensee organisation through observations and inspections results. They can thus contribute to the regulatory body's (RB's) assessment of HOF (including safety culture).
This task used the results of previous workshops:
For more information, please see Questionnaire A: Inspector's Role in the Regulatory Body's Assessment of the Licensee's Human Organisational Aspects .
In 2010, the Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP) issued a report titled Inspection of Licensee's Corrective Action Program (NEA/CNRA/R(2010)7 ). The observations, commendable practices and conclusion in this report were developed based on the results of a questionnaire to which 14 countries responded. In general, the commendable practices are of a broad nature and indicate what areas of a licensee's corrective action programme (CAP) should be assessed by the regulatory body (RB).
This workshop topic built on the 2010 report and examined what and how the RBs assess licensee CAPs, as their effectiveness is the foundation to sustain safe operation of nuclear power plants. CAPs cover a wide range of areas; the scope of this workshop topic was limited to those identified below:
The purpose of this workshop topic was to identify commendable inspection practices and share information about methods, procedures and criteria used to inspect licensees' corrective action programmes.
An RB should have confidence that a licensee's corrective action program is effective; this includes assessments of the effectiveness of corrective actions as well as apparent cause analysis/root cause analysis and trend analysis.
For more information, please see Questionnaire B: How to Inspect a Licensee's Corrective Action Programme (CAP) .
The range of conditions and events taken explicitly into account in the design of a facility is known as the design basis [IAEA (NS-G-2.10)]. The regulatory body (RB) may carry out inspections of facilities and activities to verify that the current configurations of and functions performed by safety systems, structures and components (SSCs) will meet the requirements to withstand current design basis conditions and events. Over the lifetime of a facility, the performance of SSCs may change as new technology and new processes are introduced. The licensee may aim to secure improved safety and performance by introducing new components, systems and upgrades. It is the responsibility of the regulatory body to assure that safety is not jeopardised as a result of those decisions.
This workshop topic focused on the methods, procedures and criteria used by RBs to inspect the design basis of NPP SSCs and aimed to identify relevant commendable inspection practices.
For the more information, please see Questionnaire C: Inspection of the SSCs Current Design Basis .
Last reviewed: 28 November 2017